Self seeded yellow broom


I thought that would get your interest.

Actually sorry,  I am not giving away freebies, I just want to tell you about the freebies that arrive in my garden!

There was a time when I used to buy Cystisus (Broom) plants, sometimes yellow and sometimes red, but these daysI get a wonderful variety of colours, all self seeded.  We have a raised bed round the North side of the house where I find it difficult to get anything to grow, mostly I think because of tree roots from next door, but it makes an ideal area for the less fussy seeds to take root as it doesn’t get any digging.

Look at these wonderful plants that flowered last year.

yellow broom

Yellow Cystisus

This one was very pretty.

red-yellow broom

Red-yellow Cystisus

Another self-seeded plant has been growing for the last few years.

Self seeded shrub

Self seeded shrub

It looks as if it is going to flower – or maybe just produce more leaves. I do know where it has come from, as I have seen one in a neighbour’s garden, but I am not sure what it is. Can anyone help please?

Here are some more lovely flowers that have seeded themselves in my garden.

Yellow poppies

Yellow poppies





There are other free plants that I have rescued. These two plants were going to be thrown out by a neighbour to make room for an extension. I thought that they were maybe too mature to transplant, but they both decided to put down roots in my garden.

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica


This Red Cornus was mature when I got it at least ten years ago – it is rather ancient now, but still going strong.

Then, not quite free, but bargains non the less are those plants that I rescue from the bargain benches of garden centres. I don’t always know what they are and they don’t always look as if they will survive, but I can’t leave them there can I?


Nandinia Domestica

This Nandinia was in a sorry state when I bought it having been rather damaged by frost.  It is still showing signs of early neglect though and is stubbornly refusing to show me the lovely red leaves I know it is capable of. Maybe next year.

I have discovered some wonderful plants by buying from bargain benches and plant sales, and let’s face it, we all love a bargain.

This Parahebe was covered in flowers last year, on a windy north facing wall.



I am still waiting for this Sarcococca  to flower, but I am assured it will be worth it.

Sarcococca Humilis

Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Humilis’

I really like the idea that my garden chooses itself rather than all being carefully planned. Maybe it is just me not wanting to put the effort into planning, but there is a certain excitement in going to plant sales and sometimes just taking a risk on the things you buy. Most of them can be safely moved, and usually are, if they are in the wrong place.

Finally there are those plants that I have taken cuttings of from my own garden or from other people’s gardens.

Who would have thought this Rosemary was once just a little sprig – now it is taking over the path!



This next plant  has been tricky to get going. I admired it on a friend’s house wall and took a piece, but I don’t think I put it in the right place in my garden and nearly lost it. I have now put it in a pot until it grows a bit more before planting it out.  From the leaf markings I think it is Chinese Virginia creeper. What a shame these are deciduous plants.

Chinese Virginia creeper

Chinese Virginia creeper

For the first time this year I have tried taking some cuttings of my Erysimums, both ‘Bowles Mauve’ and ‘Apricot Delight’. They seem to be doing well at the moment, but I don’t know whether they will grow big enough to plant out this year. I might need to prune my existing ones back hard and make them do another year.

Erysimum cuttings

Erysimum cuttings

So you see gardening doesn’t always need to cost a fortune – there are lots of free plants to be had if you allow wild seedlings to grow or if you don’t mind pinching a few cuttings from friends.

What free plants have been successful in your gardens?




28 thoughts on “Freebies!

    • Plumbago is a lovely plant. How nice to have something from so long ago. Somebody from further south gave me a plant last summer, but I am not sure it will have survived all this really cold weather we have been having. Here’s hoping.

  1. Your mystery plant is a Helleborus, and from the leaf arrangement, I’d say it was the Corsican Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius). It gets to 1m:
    I like the red/yellow Cytisus, but every day I pull out approximately 20 seedlings from around my garden of the Cytisus …their seeds are so viable, so I have to pass on those freebies or my garden would be impassable! I’m like you in terms of buying mostly neglected or bargain plants. If you can bring them back to health, they make a fantastic purchase, or sometimes they just make great material for striking cuttings….

    • Thanks for the identification. I can’t believe it is a Hellebore and that I actually have one. I felt very left out last year when everyone blogged about their Hellebores and now I have my very own. I didn’t know they grew that big and bushy, but maybe it is just this variety. I am going to photograph the original plant and see if it is really the same.
      Yes I can imagine that Cytisus could be a nuisance in the wrong place, but where mine seeds they are really useful.

    • The botanical name for Oregon Grape is Mahonia, but no the leaves are not prickly enough. A few people have identified it as a Hellebore, which I was really surprised and pleased about.

      • There is a picture of Hellebore on my site. Look under blogging 101 To My Friends. I ha seen some Mahonia with out the deeply pickly leaves. It is natural here in the Northwest. It likes a shady rocky sandy soil. Afternoon sun. Other areas it will grow and not look like R the Oregon I know and love. It is so commom it don’t think I have a picture.

  2. Yes, I love all the freebies that I get too, Welsh poppies, foxgloves, Linaria (purple)and Linaria Canon Went (pink). Sisyrinchium. Goodness knows where they came from but they are welcome to stay.
    I think your unknown seedling looks like a Hellebore!

    • That sounds a lovely collection of freebies that you get. Thanks for the id – a few people are saying the same so I think it is indeed a Hellebore. I am delighted and maybe in that case it is about to burst into flower.

  3. Love this post Annette, plants for free are so satisfying, I pot up endless seedlings and grow them on to give away, my extended family are all delighted, at least I think they are! Verbena bonariensis, Luzula nivea grass, divided Jane Phillips Iris, various hardy geraniums, anything that I can bring on.

    • I grew Verbena for the first time last year and have heard that it will self seed. Here’s hoping. I am intending to take more cuttings to replace the shorter lived plants. I don’t have a greenhouse, but some plants seem to do OK in a sheltered spot instead. Sounds like you do really well.

      • I haven’t got a greenhouse either, we took it down when it was beyond repair. Potting up seedlings is addictive and are most successful in spring and summer, when they take off quickly. V. bonarensis is a prolific self seeder and a ridiculous price in garden centres, your friends will be delighted with you!

  4. You inspired me today Annette – I went to the garden centre and picked up some beautiful bargains that were looking so forlorn on the Sale shelf… a bluey white hydrangea and a lovely honeysuckle (sorry, I don’t have their names to hand)… of course no one wants to buy them when they’re all twiggy and bare, but I can’t wait to bring them to life.
    As for real freebies, I am currently nursing an acanthus that self-seeded in my mother’s compost heap, plus many experimental cuttings of things like holly, mint, hydrangea, clematis, and quite a few primroses that I’ve divided to take with me to my new garden. A fair few have been lost along the way to slugs, frost, wind etc, but I’m hoping against hope that the rest make it through!

    • I am so pleased. I am due another visit there myself, but I might have to spend some money as I want some things that are flowering at the moment to cheer up my winter garden. Well done you for rescuing those lovely plants – I am sure with your tender care they will flourish. With this terribly cold weather though I am not sure when you will get them in. I have never had an acanthus, but they look lovely. Good luck with your other cuttings. If I ever move I think I would be leaving the garden rather bare with all the herbaceous plants I would want to take.

  5. The broom seedlings are great, I actually like several of your seedlings more than the original!
    Freebies are great 🙂 I always have cuttings and seedlings coming along and for me the bigger problem is shoehorning them into a spot where they stand half a chance. If I bought full sized plants I don’t know where I’d put them!

  6. That’s a great haul of freebies! Be warned that your lovely hellebore could grow quite large in time – my argutifolius is about a metre high and more than that across, but very lovely! I haven’t really done much with cuttings but am enthused after hearing of others’ success

    • I didn’t know hellebores grew that big, but the shrub I think it came from is rather large. I am very happy for it to grow big in the place it has put itself. I just hope it gets enough light to flower there.

  7. I love Helleborus argutifolius. It has lovely apple green cup -shaped flowers. Very pretty. I take cuttings all the time where ever I go. And my pockets are always full of seeds. The trouble is I can never remember what the seeds are. Still, it means I get some nice surprises.

    • I am so pleased to have discovered what it is and really looking forward to seeing it flower. Now I have started taking cuttings, I think I will do it a lot more. I should have taken more this year as I fear I have lost a few things with these harsh frosts.

  8. It’s definitely a hellebore – no shadow of a doubt. As well as H. argutifolius, could be a hybrid with H. argut since it seems to do it easily. Aren’t you lucky to have such a nice plant self-seeding? I’d say it’s the gravel. Plants love it. Nice post – it doesn’t all have to be about paying for things. It reminds me of a friend who (annoyingly) says when she looks at my garden … well, if the flowers come to me …

    • Thanks Cathy, I am really looking forward to seeing the flowers. I thought I knew where it came from, but when I picked a leaf from my neighbour’s plant today they were not the same at all! I think his is actually a kind of holly. So it is a mystery present probably left by the birds or maybe just the wind.

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